WPP is the latest agency holding group to confirm it is in dialogue with the US Department of Justice as part of an investigation into the alleged price-fixing of video ad production.
The group revealed that three of its agency subsidiaries had received subpoenas from the department’s Antitrust Division, and said it is “fully cooperating” with enquiries.
It follows statements last week by Publicis Groupe, Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group that they too have been contacted by the Justice Department, which is investigating video production and post-production practices in the advertising industry.
As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, investigators are exploring whether ad agency holding groups have inappropriately steered production contracts into in-house units over independent businesses by “rigging” the bidding process.
The post-production industry is worth a reported $5bn in the US.
The WPP statement said: “WPP confirms that, similarly to Interpublic, Omnicom and Publicis, three of its subsidiaries have received subpoenas from the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division concerning the Division’s ongoing investigation of video production and post-production practices in the advertising industry.
“WPP and its subsidiaries are fully cooperating with the enquiries.”